Thursday, October 30, 2014

Don't change my meter CFE

With all the stories of meters being changed without permission I wasn't gonna take the chance that these "on commission" installers would try to make a few bucks/pesos off my house. Now they are locked  and real official CFE people will at least have to talk to me to get in.

I took measurements of the opening to the large Aluminum place on the highway.  She did send someone out the next morning to measure and explain.  Still the new door was tight and Hugo shaved the bottom edge off and one side piece. Fit's very nicely now. I'll think about silicon.

The first picture is right after Hugo finished yesterday. The second is after I cleaned it up and painted today. I let someone paint the house numbers so I didn't criticize. Now the meters and the numbers are covered by an almond tree so another location is needed anyway.  No more numbers for now.

Yesterday after install

Today after cleanup and paint

CFE is installing Not Very Smart Meters and not always with the owners permission.  The first complaint is that you can only pay at CFE offices.  The second complaint is that you/we have to read it every month with a magic card and go pay at CFE.  The third complaint is you can't pay for six months and go away. This is all about saving CFE money with no meter readers .... but at huge public expense.

Either set up a real smart meter system where it's all automatic or leave it like it has been for years. This is simply a matter of the Government (CFE) screwing the people.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

CFE Smart Card Reader Revisited

I'm re-posting this from back in February now that CFE is installing these things in our area. Again the on commission installers seem to be telling people whatever lets them install these "pain in the asses".  Pain because the installers lie about where you can pay, they say it's mandatory and they make it sound real cool. Some of my Mexican neighbors almost feel like they have the Internet now at no cost. First problem is people don't understand the system. Second problem is the CFE Office is a 40+ minute bus ride to Cihuatlan plus a long walk between buses.

Experience from the Chapala area
They have to pay at CFE, no more paying at an OXXO, tienda, or bank. The electric cycles off in the house and back on when the card reads the meter so if people have digital clocks they all need to be reset. The bill must be paid once a month and I don't know of a way to pay ahead in case someone is out of town like people can do, pay ahead with a meter reader. It's a pain and probably the worst idea I've seen in a long time.

Finally with the help of my Mx. neighbor we got the card sys. removed, which they just changed and put the card under our door when no one was home.

CFE's newest gimmick that some are calling a scam.  Lots of news articles about technical difficulties with incorrect meter readings, over charging and the difficulty of dealing with the new system and CFE in general. 

Once you get on this program you become responsible for reading your meter with the card, taking the card to CFE and putting it in their machine for a printed bill .... and then paying it "once a month".  You are assigned a day of the month to read your meter and then probably have a few days to pay it. A whole new payment program.  Problem with this is if you don't do it correctly and on time your electricity will be shut off.  What if you go on vacation, what if you only live in Mexico part of the year, what if you have rentals,  what if you are not able to visit the nearest CFE office or it is very difficult to do so.  Supposedly prepayments won't be allowed so paying ahead for time you are gone may not be possible. 

Really ridiculous for CFE to think they can replace human meter readers with the public and a magic card.   Just remember this program is voluntary and you can decline even if they give the impression it's required.   And if you got into this program without understanding it .... go to CFE and cancel now !!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fishing in the road

Yes this is our road in the rainy season, sometimes better and sometimes worse. The water is looking pretty clear here. Nahima always has her head out the window looking at the water as we pass. When it's clear there are little-little fish (pescaditos) darting around. I assumed they would be baby frogs (polliwogs) because you can hear the frogs chirping on the side of the road. But no, these are very small, thin, fish looking things that don't seem to grow up like a frog would. So if you have fish ..... you have to go fishing and that's what the girls are doing

With bottle and plastic cup

Couldn't catch 'em

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ratón Pérez

Nahima has been wiggling her already broken front tooth for two days and talking about putting it under her pillow in a small plastic bag. I forgot about Raton Perez but recognized the tooth under the pillow. Got a phone call at 8 this morning from Nahima wished me a happy birthday and told me her tooth fell out last night.  I think she's hoping I'll be a tooth fairy too.

The Ratoncito Pérez or Ratón Pérez (Pérez Mouse in English) is a figure popular in Spanish and Hispanic American cultures, similar to the tooth fairy, originating in Madrid in 1894. As is traditional in some English-speaking countries, when a child loses a tooth it is customary for him or her to place it under the pillow, so that Ratoncito Pérez will exchange it for a gift. The tradition is almost universal in Spanish cultures, but takes different forms in different areas. He is known as "Ratoncito Pérez" in Spanish speaking countries, with the exception of some regions of Mexico, Peru and Chile, where he is called "el Ratón de los Dientes" (The Tooth Mouse), and in Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay and Colombia, he is known simply as "El Ratón Pérez".

HP 1515

So I bought myself a printer because the refills on my old Lexmark printers weren't lasting very long and  it's Manzanillo for new ones. Lexmark also does not make WIN7 drivers for old printers for my laptop.  The kids are having more and more homework and I don't want to take them to an Internet Cafe just to print. I thought the printer price of $800mx was almost good at Bodega Aurrera but when she scanned it it came out $990. Their excuse was the $800 is an expired promotion price so take it or leave it.  Oh well !!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dog carrying Iguana

We were headed into Melaque to drop the kids off at school and I noticed a small dog carrying an Iguana about one third his size.  The dog was moving right along so I gave my camera to Lorena while I kept up. She didn't know how to zoom but did get all fotos dead center.  This camera is set to take low res so I couldn't expand the foto. Just trivia but first time seeing a dog with iguana. Cats will try to go after them but usually lizard size is easier.

Probably to eat it but who knows

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A new Huawei E303 modem

I've been struggling with 2 old USB CEL modems .... and unable to help kids with homework or go further with DuoLingo Spanish. Forget Youtube. In our little town the only new modems were at OXXO stores and I thought their price was a rip off but Manzanillo is an hour away to compare. I didn't know it's a different quality modem.

HUAWEI E303 2G 3G USB Modem Data Card 7.2 Mbps

The little Telcel stores couldn't tell me the make or model they might get in in a week or two and homework was building up. The old Huawei just stopped working and the newer ZTE was slower than 2400 baud dial-up. The new Huawei that OXXO sells is a whole new technology with a speed capacity up to 7meg and a web based control panel at like DSL Modems. No software installed on your PC. It is 650mx but worth it so far

Speed test this morning

Web based control panel like DSL Modems

Friday, October 17, 2014

A real Tattoo has a story

I'm embarrassed by older retired folks coming to Mexico and feeling this sudden rush of minimal freedom and feel the need/urge to get a token tattoo on their ankle or small of their back.  What does it mean besides they had nothing better to do that day and no disapproving social or work environment.

I'm also completely baffled by the "body art" crowd that is so stylish in some circles along with piercing and what ever body disfigurement routine you can think of.

My two tattoo experiences were what I would classify as real world expressions. The first with a Navy buddy in the slums of Hong Kong in the early 1960's (Vietnam).  The second was my Grandfather who worked his way from Cabin Boy at age 14 to being a Captain and always on a sailing vessel where wind was the primary power source.

Hong Kong was an R&R (Rest and Recreation) port for ships working off the coast of Vietnam so we would spend from 10 days to two weeks there doing very little work and going into town early in the afternoon.  No over nights and the little water taxis would bring us back by 1AM.

My buddy Mike was a Bosun's Mate looking like he might make a career of it and he heard of a tattoo place that he wanted to check out. Problem was it was up in the rooftop slums and he wanted company.  We ascended 4-5 flights of stairs and found the little apartment/shack up top. The artist suggested we send out for a six-pack of beer to take the first bit of pain off. He broke out his cigar box of tools which consisted of needles wrapped in thread to be dipped in various colors. Mike was set on an Eagle across his chest. First day was the outline in blue/black ink.  The second day the color filling began.  I helped Mike into his third day and that was it for me.  It was needle pokes with colored ink from the thread.  Took 2 10 day periods in Hong Kong to complete.

Similar basic full chest tattoo

Roof top slums in Hong Kong

The story about my Grandfather is he had a few tattoo's but the best was the Hula Girl on his Popeye sized forearm. Hula girl was probably from Hawaii but who knows if from the early 1900's.  He could make her dance by flexing his muscle but he would rather tell sea stories about different ships and how he skied to school in Norway on barrel staves. Great story teller and had great books on Tall Ships.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cutting Pepinos

Way back around the turn of the century when Mexico was still very new to me I spent a few weeks with friends in Mexico City. Helping cut veggies for a salad I was startled by "my kids are not going to like the way you cut the pepinos". I mean I know how to cut cucumbers for a salad but since they were already destroyed we didn't delve further into what should have been.

The salad was my idea and design but since salads here are often more like a garnish than a main dish my only thought was you don't put pepinos in a bowl with a bunch of other veggies. You slice them in strips, douse with lots of lime juice, sprinkle sea salt over the top ... and probably some Valentina hot sauce. Ever wonder how to eat Jicama ..... the very same way.

A tip on citrus squeezers/juicers or wives tale -- Those cast aluminium ones look very sturdy but it's rumored that the acid reaction will eventually make them go sour. Better to use inert plastic.

So many ways?

Peal and all ready for lime

Lime squeezer

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Turtle Launch

Seems like a good name.  They brought around these tubs of turtles to 3 different Melaque beach locations last night and passed the babies out to kids to launch into the ocean. We picked up the kids at school at 7PM and this was scheduled for 7:30 at Bigotes only a few blocks away. Yari enjoyed it and Nahima was afraid.  They move their paddle feet real fast and Nahima thought they could fly after her. Only in a four year old's mind.

Turtle Tub

The launch process

Nahima Miedo

Turtle Sunset

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Mexican Visa just became easier

Important Notice
New Immigration Law in Mexico

That was then and this is now. In 2012 the new laws changed the financial requirements substantially and also disallowed applying for a Visa in Mexico. The old income requirements for a Temporary yearly Visa jumped from around $1300US a month to almost $2000US.  Many lower income retirees were suddenly left out unless they doctored their books somehow.

Suddenly as of today the income required for a Temporary (Temporal) Visa was reduced to around $1500US and the overall assets dropped from $100k to $25k.  You still have to apply at a Consulate in your home country but the financial burden has been greatly reduced. Here are the new requirements posted by a Chapala lawyer.

HUGE Changes today (10 Oct 2014) to Mexican immigration law
These changes apply to visas issued at Mexican consulates outside Mexico.  I am assuming that there will be a publication soon applicable to people renewing within Mexico to harmonize the new lower financial requirements.
Reduced income requirements for temporary residence, new income / asset requirements:
Balances in bank 5,000 days minimum wage (67.29 pesos) $336,450 pesos or $25,164US, down from old minimum of 20,000 days minimum wage or $1,345,800 pesos or $100,658US at todays exchange rate.
Monthly income 300 days minimum wage (67.29 pesos) $20,187 pesos or $1,510US down from old minimum of 400 days or $26,916 pesos or $2,013US

Whatever the reasoning behind the Mexican Government's change of mine on what you should have to move/retire here I'll give it a Hi-Five.  Remember that Mexico is not dirt cheap any more so even with $1500 a month you'll have to keep that belt tight.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Mexico in Black and White

Not sure who passed these articles along about Gabriel Figueroa but both have related video documentaries included. The BBC article is the most recent and in English.  BBC tells you how to embed their video but it didn't work for me. Watch it on the site link. The Cultura Colectiva article is a year old, in Spanish and had a YouTube video. Thanks whom ever sent these links and for the addition to my Mexican movie knowledge. 

The appeal to me was I've been collecting old Mexican black and white movies for years and I have a few of Figueroa's without knowing he was the cinematographer. Looking back through a few movies and his stark surrealism really stands out. He worked with Luis Buñuel on a number of movies like Los Olvidados and has more great ones like La Perla and Macario below. Actually a surprising number of complete classic and not so classic movies on YouTube.

BBC - Gabriel Figueroa: Master of Mexican light  -  with video documentary

La Perla Classic

Macario Classic

Monday, October 06, 2014

Peregrinación to the church in Pinal Villa

Nuesta Senora del Rosario - Colonia Pinal Villa

Each day of the nine day celebration a different community in our area makes the trek out the road to Pinal Villa finishing at our local church. We pass them every day on our way into Melaque. These are two separate groups on different days below.

The weather has not been kind to our roads or to outdoor activities. Looks like we have a dry spell that may last awhile but September was the wettest month on record. No sign of the entertainment stage like last year, no kids rides, no food or beer booths.  Almost wonder if there will be a Castillo. Hope this sunshine will improve the spirits.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

What RAP should be

Or maybe you call it phrasing .... I don't know. I just know there's lots of RAP CRAP that has no place in a civilized society.  In a society that may be trying to bring it together but hasn't got a clue. Agreed technology can control your stupid ass if you don't watch out.  Nice to see Rappers with a brain

Auto correct nothing - work at it

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Jury Duty and a bone in the soup

I've never been called for jury duty ... at least that I know of.  I suppose there could be one way back in California that I could be hauled in for like I was years ago for a hitch hiking ticket I received on my way to somewhere else. It is a crime to not show up or give them a good excuse so I was relieved at how simple it was to contact them over the Internet.  Of course mine was easy by saying I've lived in Mexico for 9 years.
Juror ID: 000185****

Dear *** JUROR ***,

Your request to be excused has been approved. You are NO LONGER REQUIRED to report to the  King County Superior - Seattle on your original summons date.

If you would like to contact the King County Superior - Seattle further, you may reply to this email or call the court at (206) 477-1320. Thank you.

Greg Wheeler, Manager - Jury Services.

Bone Soup

A bit of an exaggeration but some versions of Pozole are not far from the above. Today we had chicken soup and it's common here to get a wing or leg in your bowl along with a bunch of veggies. I love the soup, the veggies, the flavor with peppers-salt-lime-onion on the side but it reminded me of my aversion to meat still on the bone in soup. It's sloppy eating. 

Often the cutting of a pig seems to be totally arbitrary as to what pieces end up where and connected to what. It's just so much easier to eat meat off the bone and seldom a mannerly way clean the bone at the table.  Just a personal quirk for me maybe and how I handle it depends on my hunger level.

The construction of the house finished in April 2011 and I'm pretty much settled in. As of March 2014 I'm in preparation for rain mode for this coming summer. That includes sealing and painting things and dealing with drainage issues from last year.

Sparks Mexico Web
Manzanillo Information
House building in Pinal Villa

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